Chiropractic History

May 20, 2016

The history of chiropractic began in 1895 when Daniel David Palmer of Iowa performed the first chiropractic adjustment on a partially deaf janitor, Harvey Lillard. While Lillard was working without his shirt on in Palmers office , Lillard bent over to empty the trash can Palmer noticed that Lillard had a vertebra out of position. Palmer then asked Lillard what happened and Lillard replied, "I moved the wrong way and I heard a 'pop' in my back and that's when I lost my hearing." Palmer who was also involved in many other natural healing philosophy's had Lillard lay face down on the floor and Palmer proceeded with the adjustment. The very next day, Lillard told Palmer, "I can hear that rackets on the streets."[1] This led to Palmer opening a school of chiropractic two years later. The word "chiropractic" was coined from Greek root words by Rev. Samel Weed. Chiropractic's early philosophy was rooted in vitalism, naturalism, magnetism, spiritualism and other constructs that were not amenable to the scientific method. Chiropractic's founder, D.D. Palmer, attempted to merge science and metaphysics.[2] In 1896, D.D. Palmer's first descriptions and underlying philosophy of chiropractic was strikingly similar to Andrew Still's principles of osteopathy established a decade earlier.[3] Both described the body as a "machine" whose parts could be manipulated to produce a drugless cure. Both professed the use of spinal manipulation on joint dysfunction/subluxation to improve health. Palmer drew further distinctions by noting that he was the first to use short-lever HVLA manipulative techniques using the spinous process and transverse processes as mechanical levers. He described the effects of chiropractic spinal manipulation as being mediated primarily by the nervous system.[4]

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